Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomePolicingThe Met struggling to find specialists to tackle economic crime, report finds

The Met struggling to find specialists to tackle economic crime, report finds

The Specialist Crime Command, which is the Met’s unit tackling major crimes, is facing a recruitment crisis with more than 300 vacancies in its ranks, a report has found

According to a report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), there are significant resourcing issues in departments critical to the force approach to serious and organised crime threats.

The specialist crime command was operating with 300 staff vacancies, according to the report.

The force had 60 financial investigator posts that were vacant when it should have 329 financial investigators in total.

In one of the force’s operational hubs focusing on organised crime, there should be 50 financial investigators; the report found only 8 were in post.

The report stated: “Some economic crime teams perceived that they were unable to dedicate enough time to serious and organised crime investigations.

“They felt they were expected to support investigations into high-risk missing persons and targeting wanted fugitives; tasks that could be completed by other force personnel such as financial intelligence officers.”

Difficulty in recruiting and retaining specialists

The force had 40 analyst posts that were vacant when it should have 228 analysts across the force, according to the report’s findings.

“Operational staff reported difficulties in securing analytical support to present complex evidence for court,” the report stated.

“In some cases, investigators attempted to complete this work themselves without the requisite expertise.”

Partners interviewed by the investigators also highlighted that the Met doesn’t have enough analysts to support partnership meetings with relevant data, the report said.

According to the report, investigators were told that the force recognised that they don’t have enough analysts and were recruiting additional analysts. While investigators welcomed this decision, they said: “However, we are also aware of a shortage of national analyst training courses, due to suspension of training during the pandemic.

“This may necessitate the MPS seeking alternative training providers to train new analysts.

“The MPS should find a way to increase the number of financial investigators and financial intelligence officers, although we acknowledge the difficulties faced when recruiting and training these specialists.”

Matt Parr, His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, said: “As we highlight in this report, it is particularly difficult for London’s police forces to recruit and retain staff in specialist roles.

“Once staff are competently trained with specialist skill sets, they often realise they can earn better money in the private sector.

“Forces need to think innovatively to keep these skilled staff. They may wish to think about working in collaboration with the private sector to navigate this challenge and find a way to share resources.”

(Source: HMICFRS)

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